Within my relationship Dylan and I are both major supporters of each other, and when things get rough we both turn inwards to each other for support, as do many couples. In the case of Dylan’s transition we both had many moments of excitement, elation, sadness and fear, and often these were not occurring at the same time. In fact, more often than not Dylan’s elation and excitement would coincide with a level of fear and sadness from me. This is because Dylan, obviously, always knew what was coming before I did and had been waiting to put the puzzle pieces together for their whole life, so every time Dylan had a realisation about what they needed to do to feel comfortable as their authentic self, I was always a few steps behind. This would often cause me to panic, at least internally, at the changes that I could see and feel coming with every realisation that Dylan shared with me.
This resulted in total confusion from both of us because, like I said above, usually when something exciting or upsetting happened Dylan and I would immediately turn to each other, but here we were trying to turn to each other and meeting with opposing emotions. We were clearly unable to give each other what we needed at this point. I knew that this wasn’t ideal, but I missed my confidant who could make it all better and so I kept trying to lean on Dylan, which wasn’t conducive to us both feeling ‘safe’ and supported at all. Quite the opposite in fact.
So, I decided to see a psychologist/counsellor myself to discuss everything and clarify my thoughts. This was a turning point for me and definitely resulted in a few realisations about my thought process and my feelings around the transitions. That said, it took a couple of tries to get it right because the first psychologist that I saw asked me a lot of questions but knew seemingly nothing about transgender issues, and left me feeling alone and very upset. In fact, so upset that I cried for a couple of days and didn’t do much else. I’m general I’m a very level headed and resilient person so this was a really unusual reaction for me. Thankfully I wasn’t put off and I kept trying and have since seen 2 other psychologists/counsellors who were both extremely experienced and knowledgeable and left me feeling validated and clear headed.
With my poor experience in mind I have created this ‘support section’ to lead people in Sydney towards some experienced psychologists/counsellors, all of whom I have either seen or have been recommended by my psychologist. I have also included a number of online resources including articles, YouTube channels, Facebook groups and blogs that I got a lot out of and found interesting. I will also add more to this page as I find more interesting things, so stay tuned.
I have personally met the following 3 professionals, and have left each of them feeling validated and grounded. They are extremely knowledgeable and reputable in the field of transgender issues, and have been immensely helpful to me personally as I began working on trying to understand Dylan’s new identity, and my own.
Recommended Psychologists/Counsellors for couples counselling (Sydney):
I have not met these therapists, however they have been recommended to me by the above reputable professionals.
Resources from a partner perspective:
- Neutrois Nonsense: Fantastic website written by a genderqueer person, with resources for partners, guest bloggers, information, opinions, links to other articles and research. Quite possibly the best, and fullest, resource I have ever come across.
- Gender Labors: Interesting research article about the impacts on partners dating transgender people. My main take home fact was that the partner takes on a key role in supporting the new gender, often through changes (sometimes subconscious) to their own gender which will subsequently compliment/support the gender of their partner.
- Facebook groups: This might sound a little frivolous but I have actually found some exceptional groups that are really active, extremely supportive and just genuinely interesting to be a part of. Partners of Transgender Individuals is particularly good, but look out for groups in your city/state, and if they aren’t active then perhaps help make them active?
Resources that helped me to understand gender neutrality:
- Ghost of a Chance: This wonderful YouTube blogger, Casper, talks you through their thought process, and their experiences as they undergo top surgery as part of their transition to gender neutral. Recently they have started blogging again about taking hormone replacement therapy. These videos were some of the first resources I saw after Dylan came out to me, and hearing Casper speak really helped my understanding of dysphoria as well as gender neutrality.
- Genderqueer Australia: This site has many links to various different things, mostly for the support of gender neutral people rather than partners, but still of interest to partners, family and friends. It also lists all of the places where you can find gender neutral toilets which is pretty interesting!
- Gender Centre: The gender centre has a lot of resources available for practical and emotional support for transgender people as well as partners an families. They also have the most up to date information on legal policy.
- Gender Awesome: this wonderful blogger has an article called ‘so you’re questioning your gender: the starter kit’ which includes all kinds of resources, affirmations and great insights- highly worth reading.